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Orlando Shooter Said He Wanted U.S. To Stop Bombing Islamic State

The Orlando gunman who killed 49 people at a gay nightclub in the U.S. state of Florida described himself in phone calls with authorities as "an Islamic soldier" and demanded that the United States stop bombing Syria and Iraq.

The U.S. air campaign against the Islamic State (IS) extremist group and its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, to whom gunman Omar Mateen pledged allegiance during the calls, was the reason Mateen gave for shooting people at the nightclub, according to transcripts of the calls released by the FBI on June 20.

The heavily redacted transcripts provided details about the assailant's professed Islamist motives. Republican congressmen said that the redacted parts also showed he was motivated to kill gays.

The FBI has said that while Mateen, whose family was from Afghanistan, derived inspiration from IS online, it has no evidence that the militant group funded or organized his June 12 attack.

Mateen also warned during the incident that he would set off car bombs and suicide vests attached to hostages to cause even more mass carnage like that seen in the IS-inspired Paris attacks in November.

Those proved to be empty threats, though they prompted police to end the negotiation, move in, and kill him.

Based on reporting by AP, Reuters, and dpa

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